Tort reform, a movement which begun in the 1980’s, is becoming an increasingly prominent scam to strip injured Americans of their rights and recovery under the law. Tort reform, started by large corporations, act only to protect industries under the guise of the “reduction of overall health care costs”. Tort Reform has been hurting Americans across the country, most recently, a widow charged with the care of her mentally handicapped son.
Deborah Watts, mother of Naython Watts [inset – left], has been facing issues with tort reform since her son’s health and mental complications caused by two doctors just before his birth. Due to the botched medical care by these two doctors Naython will require full time care for the remainder of his fifty year life expectancy, which has been completely ruined as a result of his medical care. As a result, Deborah sued Cox Medical Centers, winning a $1.45 million jury award for non-economic damages, and a $3.37 million award for future medical damages; but, due to tort reform, was set to only receive $350,000.00 of that amount. Since this ruling the state has made the statute unconstitutional, reversing Deborah’s judgment to the original amount, but many states still face tort reform laws limiting damages and hurting individuals.
Tort reform, which limits non-economic damages, does not benefit the public, and only assist companies in retaining profit. The initial goal, which was to limit law suits and protect doctors for liability, has actually increased the medical malpractice rate (in Missouri specifically medical malpractice has increased 1% since tort reform). Tort reform bars individuals from their right to a jury trial, and place a cap on statutory damages, which the Missouri supreme court have ruled is unconstitutional. Although Naython Watts will benefit from this ruling, 33 states have yet to rule such tort reform unconstitutional.
If you, or a loved one, has received a judgment for damages only to have those damages limited by statutory caps you should seek legal consultation immediately. Your state may still enforce these tort reform laws which are beginning to be ruled unconstitutional across the nation. Advocating for your rights can protect your economic and noneconomic damages, as well as begin to pave the way for others which have been hurt by tort reform laws to receive their full recovery.
[Img ref: Huffington Post – 2012]
http://www.injurylawmissouri.comLindsay Rakers, a Missouri injury attorney, Illinois injury attorney, fighting against tort reform
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